Covid self-isolation period will be reduced from seven days to five at NI
Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan has indicated that the self-isolation period for Covid-19 will be reduced from seven days to five.
Mr Givan tweeted that the Department of Health had confirmed the new rule would apply from January 21.
In the same tweet, Mr Givan also said he hoped progress could be made at Thursday’s Stormont executive meeting to lift some Covid measures.
The Prime Minister, along with Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, met Health Minister Robin Swann, Chief Medical Officer Sir Michael McBride and Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Ian Young on Wednesday to discuss the latest state of the pandemic in the region.
Mr Givan and Ms O’Neill will travel to Londonderry on Thursday for a visit and will remain in the city to chair an executive meeting virtually.
Ministers are expected to consider a range of Covid-19 rule relaxations.
The outcome of those discussions is to be announced at a press conference in Derry on Thursday afternoon.
The relaxations, if agreed, will likely be phased in and include some of the latest restrictions being implemented, according to the PA news agency.
On December 22, a series of restrictions on the hotel sector, including the closure of nightclubs from Boxing Day.
Mr Givan tweeted: “Today I spoke with colleagues and managers about the Covid measures that can be lifted at tomorrow’s executive.
“Hopefully we can progress.”
Ms O’Neill said she hopes to be able to make ‘some positive strides on the Covid front, and particularly with regard to restrictions whilst of course being guided by health advice’.
“We will be taking tomorrow’s executive meeting from Derry where we will be touring a number of fantastic new projects which will create jobs and generate income for the local economy,” she said.
Earlier this week there were calls from the business community for easing restrictions.
Belfast Chamber chief executive Simon Hamilton said predictions of how hard Omicron would strike were “far off the mark”, but added that the effect of the restrictions on business was “very real”.
The deaths of six other people who had previously tested positive for Covid-19 were announced on Wednesday, along with 4,451 other cases of the virus.
On Wednesday morning, there were 404 hospitalized Covid-positive patients, including 25 in intensive care.